November 30, 2010
Woodland Hills, CA- Non-profit organization Iemanya Oceanica today announced that Henry’s Farmers Market, a growing Southern California grocery chain, has discontinued selling shark meat at its fresh seafood counter.
The grocery chain took this important step in sustainability on September 2nd of this year after several meetings with Iemanya staff to discuss transitioning Henry’s to sustainable seafood and receiving petitions by Iemanya Oceanica supporters to discontinue selling shark meat. In a formal letter to Iemanya, Doug Veranai, the Meat and Seafood Director for Henry’s stated, “We are currently working to find alternative resources so we can start to reduce and eliminate any additional unsustainable seafood from our counters.”
This is an important step in ocean conservation as, according to the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN), sharks are especially vulnerable to overfishing because they reach sexual maturity late in life and have relatively few offspring. The IUCN estimates that tens of millions of sharks are fished and finned each year, a rate that is quickly depleting their populations (finning is the practice of removing a shark’s fins and discarding the body at sea). Sharks are important to the health of the oceans as they regulate populations of other fish species and help balance marine ecosystems.
Additionally, shark meat is not safe for human consumption according to numerous reputable seafood guides and should be avoided altogether because of the high level of mercury and other toxins it contains. By eliminating shark meat from its menu, Henry’s has taken an important step toward fulfilling its mission to 'enhance the lives of their customers, by offering high quality, value priced, fresh products that support a healthy lifestyle.’
“Henry’s has taken a critical step in protecting our oceans by joining the growing number of companies nationwide that are shifting to offering sustainable seafood, including grocers such as Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods Market,” said Iemanya President, Laleh Mohajerani. Henry’s will continue its efforts to create a sustainable seafood menu with the support of Iemanya Oceanica going forward.